Arizona Football

Off-the-beaten-path storylines: Arizona Wildcats at UCLA



Random thoughts while wondering if Jim Mora believes he’s in Rich Rodriguez’s head, causing Rodriguez to wake up from nightmares sweating a storm. …

— UCLA has outscored Arizona 170-73 in its four-game winning streak since Mora and Rodriguez started coaching at their respective schools in 2012. In the two games played at the Rose Bowl in 2012 and 2014, Arizona was outscored 83-17. The Wildcats gained only 255 yards in a 17-7 loss in 2014. They gained only two more (257) in a 66-10 drubbing in 2012. Those two games are the lowest in total yards in the Rich Rod era at Arizona.

Do the 170 points in the four games and UCLA’s stifling defense at the Rose Bowl against Arizona make Mora the second coming of Frank Kush to Wildcat fans?

When Kush coached against Arizona from 1958 to 1978 at ASU, he had a 16-5 record against the Wildcats. Arizona’s longest losing streak against Kush was nine games from 1965 to 1973. ASU’s total points in those nine games was 275, only 105 more than what Mora’s Bruins have done in four games. …

— If UCLA wins tonight, it would achieve its longest winning streak against Arizona. The Bruins beat Arizona four straight times from 2000 to 2004 but was denied a fifth straight win when Arizona upset seventh-ranked UCLA 52-14 in 2005 at Arizona Stadium. Oddity: Arizona beat UCLA five straight times before this current Bruin run.

Brandon Dawkins has a longer touchdown run than any other QB in the nation, including Louisville’s Lamar Jackson? This is true — Dawkins’ 79-yard TD run against a tough Washington defense last week is the longest gain by a quarterback in the nation this season. Mississippi State’s Nick Franklin had a 74-yard run and Jackson 72 this season.

Dawkins leads Arizona in rushing with 391 yards on 44 carries. He has seven touchdowns rushing, which ranks only behind Jackson (12) and ASU’s Kallen Ballage (9). Keep in mind, Dawkins did not play in the season opener against BYU.

B.J. Denker owns the Arizona record for yards rushing by an Arizona quarterback with 949 yards on 181 attempts in 2013. He also had 13 rushing touchdowns. Dawkins is on pace to gain 1,043 yards in the regular season and score about 19 rushing touchdowns this season. …

— If Dawkins holds on to the quarterback job the remainder of the season, what happens with Anu Solomon and Khalil Tate going into 2017?

Solomon can technically apply for a medical redshirt if he is unable to play because of injury because he has only played in one game. He has not suited up the last three games. Without a projected NFL future as of now, Solomon may be content riding out his career at Arizona and helping the Wildcats and Rodriguez over the next two seasons. He could transfer and be immediately eligible elsewhere if he completes his undergraduate degree (he is a fourth-year junior after redshirting as a freshman).

Tate will be a redshirt freshman who will get a shot to play much like Dawkins has welcomed his opportunity this season as a redshirt sophomore. With how much Dawkins runs and exposes himself to hits from the defense, Tate could play at any time if Dawkins goes down. Once afforded that chance, Tate could take the position by storm much like Dawkins has done this season. You never know.

By possibly having Solomon go from starter to third-string in 2017 (if he does not return this season), does this mean Rodriguez is not loyal to his veteran starters? Not necessarily. It’s not his fault Solomon was sidetracked by concussion problems last year and foot and knee injuries throughout his career. Rodriguez has his own job to protect. Look at it this way: When Rodriguez says at the beginning of the season that the quarterback job is open for competition, the players involved will have to believe him and perform accordingly. It’s not coach-speak. publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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